"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dinner & a DVD: Gosford Park

This lasagna-like entree is quick and delicious.

Cheesy Sausage Penne

1 lb bulk Italian sausage
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
1 pkg (1 lb) penne pasta
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
4 green onions, sliced
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook the sausage and garlic; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream and onions.

In a greased baking dish, layer half of the pasta and sausage mixture. Dollop with half of the cream cheese mixture; sprinkle with half of the cheddar cheese. Repeat layers. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Featured Attraction: Gosford Park

It's Britain between the wars, and a large group of aristocrats--and their servants--are gathering for a weekend shooting party at a magnificent country estate. As the servants bustle downstairs, their masters go about their own business, which generally involves being as nasty to each other as they can possibly be. Intrigue abounds, both upstairs and downstairs,and the viewer soon understands that there is something very sinister just below the surface.

There are outsiders here as well: a film star, who is treated with condescension by the gentry, and adulation by the servants; a Scottish valet who isn't what he seems to be; and an American producer who is present to do research for a movie (one of the ironies of this film is that all his research is for the sake of a Charlie Chan movie--a series not noted for realism).

Tensions continue to mount, until --sure enough--a particularly nasty member of this crowd gets murdered. No one seems to care much, including the incompetent police inspector, who is much more interested in pouring the coffee properly than in good detective work.

Anybody who sees this movie as a conventional murder mystery will probably be disappointed. But that's the wrong approach to this movie, because it´s less a classic who-dunit, than a critical look at the English class system in the 1930's. If you remember the director is Robert Altman, you know from the start that this movie is going to be something completely different than a normal movie.

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